Today I was reading the Chapter 3 of the Gospel of Mark and found a couple of things particularly interesting. The first is when a man with a withered hand was in the synagogue and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely to see if He would heal the man on the Sabbath so that they would have something to accuse Him for. Jesus was on to them. He told the man to step forward and then He asked the religious leaders a very good question, one they could not answer. “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” Then He told the man to stretch out his arm and his hand was restored.
Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. Jesus was right when He called them hypocrites. They accused Him of breaking the Sabbath because He healed people and yet they were plotting to murder Him with Jews who supported Herod’s rule. Jesus was doing good on the Sabbath while they were doing and thinking evil. Goodness and mercy were in Jesus’ heart while jealousy and murder were in theirs. They wanted to kill Jesus who was just doing His Father’s business.
Jesus didn’t get flack just from the Pharisees who had it in for Him from the get go but also from friends and family. Verse 21 states: But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” Those close to Him thought that He was out of His mind because the crowds had gathered so that Jesus and His disciples couldn’t find the time to eat.
While He was teaching, His mother, brothers and sisters showed up outside of the house where He was and sent word for Him to come out and talk with them. There was a crowd of people sitting around Jesus when He got the message but instead of getting up and going out to see His family, Jesus remained where He was. He replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
A couple of Bible Commentators pointed out that Jesus’ family did not even go inside the house to hear what He had to say but remained outside, expecting Him to go out to them. This is like a pastor’s mother and his siblings showing up outside the church expecting him to leave the sanctuary in the middle of his sermon to see them. This is preposterous. It was preposterous too for Jesus’ family to expect Him to stop teaching the people to attend to them. Mary and Jesus’ siblings should have gone inside and listened to His teaching.
My husband finds it hard to believe that Mary of all people would expect Jesus to stop what He was doing to talk to her and His brethren. Years ago when He was twelve years old and she had Joseph found Him in the temple after they searched for Him for three days and she had gently chided Him, He asked, “But why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). At the time Mary didn’t understand what Jesus meant. Now, it should have been clear. He was doing the work of His Father. He was teaching, healing and casting out demons. He was helping the people.
It’s a sad thing when a person is doing the work of the Lord and they are attacked on all sides. This is the work of the enemy. He was attacking Jesus through His enemies and His family. This is the same thing that will happen to those whom He called His family–those who do the Father’s will. They are the ones who are not only hearers of the Word but doers. They will be attacked by those who profess to be believers, by friends and family.
God never promised that doing His work was going to be easy. Look at the prophets. Elijah’s life was threatened by the wicked queen Jezebel, Zechariah was murdered at the altar, Jeremiah was thrown into a cistern and John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus was rejected by the people of Nazareth, His own brothers didn’t believe Him, He was betrayed by one of His disciples, arrested, deserted by the others and denied by one, put on trial, whipped, mocked, spat on and crucified between two criminals.
Despite all of this, Jesus was able to say, “It is finished.” He had successfully accomplished the business His Father had sent Him to do. The apostle Paul was able to testify, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Today, if God has called you to do His work, step out in faith. Don’t allow anyone, not even those close to you, to hinder you or prevent you from doing the Father’s business. Focus on what you need to do and keep the faith. Remember, you are not alone. God is with you every step of the way. He will be with you until the end.